The Growing Population
The New York Times has highlighted a report from the National Center for Health Statistics which says the average American is getting bigger, while staying the same height or becoming marginally shorter.
The average American man now weighs an average of 198 pounds and is on average 5 feet and 9 inches tall. With a 40 inch waist his body Mass Index, (BMI), is 29, which is at the high end of the overweight scale.
Women on average are in a slightly worse position with the average American woman weighing 171 pounds and being about 5 feet and 4 inches tall, she has a BMI score of 30. Her waist is 39 inches.
In the past the average American was not this size at all and both sexes have gained 24 pounds on average, between 1960 and 2002, however they have both added about an extra eight pounds since 2002 to 2016.
The changes in the food we eat, and the lack of exercise has contributed to this change in weight.
As alarming as the increase in BMI numbers is, the most shocking number is waist size. BMI measurement is a crude way of determining someone’s health, and the best way to determine risk of poor health is to measure your waist size against your height.
A person’s waist circumference should be less than half one's height. Specialists have determined that the easy-to-calculate ratio between the two is a better predictor of health risk than the most widely measure of obesity, called body mass index (BMI).
Dr Margaret Ashwell, former science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, spearheaded the study looking into these figures, and found that while BMI was a useful indicator, it failed to take into account the distribution of fat throughout the body, with visceral, (Abdominal), fat around the heart, liver and kidneys, has been found to be worse than that on the bottom and hips, in terms of heart disease and diabetes.